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Notable work. Haunted Mansion. Spouse. Harvey Toombs. Children. Kim Irvine. Honours. Disney Legends. Leota "Lee" Toombs Thomas (born Leota Anne Wharton; August 9, 1925 – December 21, 1991) was an American artist and Imagineer at WED Enterprises, who worked on several original attractions at Disneyland Park.
- Leota Anne Wharton, August 9, 1925, California
- December 21, 1991 (aged 66)
- Artist, animator, designer
Leota Toombs Thomas was an American Imagineer, who was well-known for portraying the face of Madame Leota in The Haunted Mansion, for whom she is the namesake.
She began her career at the Walt Disney Studios in 1940, when she was hired into the Ink and Paint department. She then transferred to the Animation Department, where she met animator Harvey Toombs, whom she married in 1947. She left the Company to raise their two children: Launie and Kim, but returned to Disney in 1962. Joining WED Enterprises, now known as Walt Disney Imagineering, she created and developed designs for the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair, playing pivotal roles in the creation of It's a Small World, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and the Ford Magic Skyway. After the World's Fair ended, Leota transferred her talents to some of the most beloved attractions at Disneyland, including Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.
When the idea of a disembodied head that speaks from inside a crystal ball came along during The Haunted Mansion's development, Yale Gracey asked Leota to pose for the head, just so they could test it out. However, it was decided that actress Eleanor Audley should provide Leota's voice, due to the menacing quality of her voice. But the 'Little Leota' bride at the end of the ride does have Leota Toombs' small high-pitched voice. Leota relocated to Walt Disney World in 1971 to start up the on-site team that would maintain the shows and attractions in the Magic Kingdom park. After returning to California in 1979, she worked in several different capacities, including at Walt Disney Imagineering, where she trained many Disneyland figure-finishers and artisans.
Leota Toombs Thomas passed away on December 21, 1991.
•Her daughter, Kim Irvine is also an Imagineer, having started with the company in 1970.
14. Okt. 2022 · Leota Toombs Thomas is best known for lending her face to the iconic Madame Leota of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. She began her Disney career in the Ink and Paint Department, eventually transferring over to become one of the first women of WED enterprises. Learn more about the life of Leota Toombs.
The millions of guests that have explored the shadowy confines of the Haunted Mansion have seen Leota “Lee” Toombs Thomas—or at least the likeness of her face. She appears as Madame Leota, the disembodied head that speaks from inside a crystal ball at Disney’s creepiest and most ghoulishly fun attraction.
30. März 2018 · Leota “Lee” Toombs Thomas started her career in 1940 at the Walt Disney Studios’ Ink and Paint department, where she met and married lead animator Harvey Toombs. She left to raise their two children but returned in 1962 to join the team of Imagineers working on Disneyland Park.
25. Okt. 2023 · In 2001, Leota Toombs Thomas was memorialized at The Haunted Mansion, the attraction already bearing her image in the seance scene, with an enchanted tombstone in the ride queue. It is inscribed:...
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